Friday, September 5, 2014

Today 9/5...I am writing about hard stuff

I have heard this song a million times and sing to it , LOUD even though it was totally overplayed...But today I had a few uninterrupted minutes (ok so I was basement where I knew they won't look for a minute) and this song hit me like a ton of bricks! READ the words/imagine the words...you are going to want to sing them and think oh yeah this song...BUT REALLY READ THE WORDS...
I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They're just children from the outside
I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
They're in independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying...

"Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone"

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

The song is by Sanctus Real..it was OVER played but it came up on Pandora so I listened. All the sudden all my children's faces flashed in front of me...AND I got real overwhelmed (LIKE I almost have a basketball team nervous) and look at my life and it is just how I pictured it. The really strong spiritual husband who I thinks leads us well...like really well! Lots of cute kids...hair messy and athletic clothes and not the ute ruffle pants I imagined (Mackey), missing shoes and carrying a silky lingerie nightgown(Neeley), the new addition who speaks no English(Shepherd), the child who Loves really BIG but is nasty on a soccer field(Kirby), and one more who is brilliant and funny and ASKS LOTS of questions (Paxton). AND THEN....I get really overwhelmed when I hear this song and I realize THEY NEED ME TO LEAD THEM, all of them!! Not like get good schooling, not like make sure they have the best friends and are cool, not like make sure they are signed up for a million activities with the best coaches but like REALLY lead them in the important stuff. They are innocent and not independent!!! They need me and my husband to lead them spiritually. And let;s be honest life gets in the way. Activities get in the way. The fact that there is a million of them and no time. My PRIDE gets in the way...my desires to love things of the world gets in the way. 
Just when I think I am doing good. I have the memory verse on the board (that I actually remembered to change this week, I put a bible verse in their lunch box (score one for me), and prayed with them on the way to school (when I actually got up and took them-normally the hubby takes them). Tell me how can you not feel down when you feel like you yelled all week, you didn't change the memory board, you let them listen to a conversation where you were gossiping. LIFE and raising children that love the LORD is HARD. BUT it is REALLY important...it's commanded. So basically today I needed to be quiet, listen to this song and see my kids faces all innocent (which is a different innocent face not the one right after they pulled all the legos out) flash in front of me so that I could think about the fact that while I cannot beat myself up... I can make sure that I am getting the biblical strength to be everything that I am called to be for them. It requires discipline! It requires me personally to set aside time for quiet times. That might look like quick devotion like Jesus Calling but it needs to sometimes look like a hard core devotion where I am squirming because I am either really uncomfortable or I am squealing because of something I read that gave me passion and fire for living a life worthy of THE CALLING. It may also look like me being extremely mindful of friendships our family engages in, conversations I have either on the phone or with people, music, television, and all the dang activities that we put our children in where I realize most weeks we didn't have one single night to just LOVE on each other that week!
I am not saying that I am doing any or all of this perfectly...what I am saying is that I hope that at sometime your children's innocent faces flash before you with a face that catches you off guard and you realize that their spiritual wellness is almost completely up to you to form, lead, and guide in these early years and you can't do that with out strong hands(and that is a metaphor). Good Luck team, go get 'em, let's make disciples of these precious children that God gave us to borrow.
I hope when all is said and done we have raised some God fearing, missional children that we can think "and you will know, I'm a glow with a smile on my face when I wonder what MAGIC you'll make of this place, of this town, of this world. You'll transform your surroundings! That spirit inside you is truly astounding" quoted from An awesome book of LOVE.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gotcha Day 2014

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us...  I Keep singing this in my head. God has completely done more than I could have imagined. It was such a LONG morning as we wasted time until 2:30pm to head to the Civil Affairs office. Our guide LuLu (who doesn't speak great English) picked us up to go turn $8,000 into Chinese money (yikes!) and then head to a very small very run down building in a very crowded area to meet him. As we were entering the building I wasn't nervous at all because the anticipation was so exciting. We thankfully asked her (so we could have our camera out) when we would see him and she said as soon as you enter the building he is there waiting for you...

So we entered the building and there he was in the exact same shirt he has been in all the pictures. He said Hi' momma right as he saw me. MELT my heart. The orphan worker said that he was so excited all the way there to meet us...they had been telling him all about his family. They said all his good friends had been adopted recently so he knew what was going on. He is so calm and does the most precious little smile. We have not seen the inside of his mouth but have noticed that he does have some missing teeth. It was very obvious that the orphanage dr loved him! She kept hugging him and telling him he would see him tomorrow. He is so sweet and precious and we are in LOVE! This has been the spiritual and emotional blessing I have received.
Neeley and Kirby will be so excited because the boy LOVES him some fruit snacks!

Tomorrow we will go and sign the paperwork that makes it official and pay the money to the orphanage. I wanted to hug all of them for loving Shepherd the way they did. You could tell that they had done a great job, Lulu said that even though they are sad and will miss him they were so glad he had a forever family. What a blessing to our family! I already cannot imagine life without him!
He has been so cute with all his toys. SueSue gave him a little dog backpack and he filled all his toys and candy with it immediately and put it on his back. He has had it on all evening! It rains a lot here so we are hoping to get out of the hotel to sight see but we will see. Kunming is known for its beautiful flowers but it rains almost everyday from May to September.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Great wall and Number 12

This guy and I celebrated our 12 year anniversary in style! On one of the 7 wonders of the world! It was breathtaking. Our guide really wanted us to see the original wall. Past 701 steps and lots of walking you come to where the road has not been renovated and it becomes a small 2 foot wide trail. It was so crazy to think people built this road. I was so tired all along many of the towers but Bill, our guide, was so excited to show us the original wall. Bill became our friend and I would tease him about his "hot date" he had gone on Saturday night. He kept having all the posses he wanted us to take of him. I sweat in places I didn't know possible! Rusty...well if you know him well you know it wasn't pretty. We went straight from the wall to the airport....so gross! We met some Aggies on the wall and told Bill all about being an Aggie. We had him saying gig 'em and even gave him an Aggie football shirt for his gift. I am pretty sure that Rusty and I shocked the Chinese people in the bathroom changing and applying LOTS of baby powder. We have had such a great time sightseeing. We have been so surprised by how impatient this culture is. THEY WILL RUN you over...there are no please' or thank yous'. We are getting more aggressive and it makes me miss Texas! We got to our hotel late in Kunming and now we are sitting waiting for gotcha day''. We are so ready to get our hands on sweet Shepherd. We have met/have a college friend here too that we will meet up with on Friday who are all having gotcha day today! Can't wait to meet back up with everyone!! Thanks in advance for all the love and prayers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Today was a more emotional day than I thought it would be. There was something so raw. A wide range of feeling; like we were abandoning our own kids to go get another, to being crippled by the fear of Satan, second guessing whether I was a good enough mom to handle all these little lives, to pure excitement of finally meeting Shepherd, and then wondering about his little heart.

I know that we are where we are supposed to be...perfectly relying on God to fulfill our every need. I get giddy thinking about all of Shepherd's new friendships, watching the story of God unfold in his tiny little heart. I am also sad thinking about the friendships he will be leaving behind. The only faces he has probably ever known. I am preparing my heart for the day we go to the orphanage and see all the faces we cannot bring home with us...children whose reality is so different from Shepherds now.

We leave early tomorrow morning to start an adventure of a lifetime...who knew on our 12 year wedding anniversary we would be taking pictures on the Great Wall of China. God's plan is so lavish for us. From the very day we moved forward with this adoption God has been unfolding one blessing after another. From church blessings, to friendships, to a crazy housing situation that perfectly met paying the remaining portion of the adoption, to a crazy spiritual year that was steeped in truly understanding God's sacrifice and pursuit of our hearts. So (emotional right??) if you want to follow our journey this is where I will be updating. How many more will be saved?? One less...we will meet Shepherd on July 21,2014...Gotcha' Day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thoughts as we Get closer...

As the time is drawing closer...I have thought a lot about Shepherd's mother. How I hope that she feels deep in her soul that her child is safe, loved, and supported. I have reflected more lately because it is getting closer and I realize that in order for me to be gaining him someone had to lose him. I wish with all my heart that he would have a birth story and baby pictures and all the things that my children and most American children will have, but he will not and so we will create another story as a family, one rich in redemption and in love. One of my friends recently adopted 3 domestic boys adding to her own 3 boys (are you adding that up, it's 6 young boys!!! HOLY MOLY) she painted a beautiful picture of how much she loved him and wanted him... 
from her blog christina-jones.blogspot.com:
Your mom needed to find someone else to be your Mommy and I raised my hand and screamed "Pick me! Pick me!" because I wanted to be his Mommy so bad.  He always wants to know if other people were raising their hands too,  but I assure him that Daddy and I raised our hands so fast that nobody else had a chance to. :) 

I love how great Christina Jones described her becoming his mom! So as the travel approval gets closer I will continue to pray for a peace that passes all understanding for sweet Shepherd's biological mom. I will remember that in the rough days she wished she could be there and have the rough days with him. It will help me cherish my own children a little more! So here is the letter that is so beautifully written to a birth mom...I could not have said it better:

Taken from Nicole at livingouthislove.com
I posted this for our first Mother’s Day, two years ago.  This day is always filled with bittersweet celebration for us adoptive mamas, isn’t it?  Although I have more blessings than I can count, this year is even more bittersweet for me, as my arms ache to hold our precious boy.}
To her first mother:
You are one of the most important people in my life, and I have never met you.  You live somewhere halfway across the world, in a Chinese city.  You are our daughter’s first mother.  You carried her under your heart for a precious 9 months, gave birth to her, and then made a difficult decision.  And although you couldn’t raise her yourself, I know that you loved her in an unbelievable way because you selflessly chose LIFE.  You chose to make her a blessing to another mother, even though it was surely a devastating and unsettling decision to make.
I am that mother, and I want you to know that I think of you often.  I think about you when I rock her to sleep at night.  As I sing her favorite song to her, I cannot help but mourn your losses as a mother to her.  I look at her birth mark and her belly button, and am reminded of the short time she was able to spend with you.  When I look into her eyes, I wonder how much they look like yours and I regret that you can’t see the light in them.  When I see she has grown another inch, I wonder if her first father is tall.  When I see her smile and laugh, my heart hurts that you cannot see her happiness and beauty.  I’m sad that you haven’t been able to witness the graceful way she has handled every situation thrown at her.  I hurt for the experiences you have already missed, and all of the experiences in the future that you won’t be a part of.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day here in the U.S., I want you to be at peace.  I want you to know that our daughter is most definitely a blessing to me.  She is also an amazing blessing to her Daddy, her sister, her brother, and all of her family.  She is joyful and happy.  She rarely stops smiling and she lights up every room she walks into.  She is loving and affectionate.  She is strong and courageous.  She is so very graceful and brave.  She is smart and clever.  She is funny and silly and feisty.  She has a beautiful spirit and has completely stolen my heart.  She is so loved and has been well-cared for her whole life, including the year she spent with her foster family in Fuzhou.
When she is old enough to ask about you, I will tell her that you loved her.  Although I do not know the circumstances of her birth, I will tell her you made the best decision you could at the time.  I will tell her that neither one of us are less her mother than the other.  We are both equally mothers to her in different ways.  I will pray for you with her … for peace as her first mother, that you know our daughter is loved, healthy, happy, and well-cared for.  We will pray that you know God’s love as we do, and that if we do not meet each other in this life, that we will see each other in Heaven.
Many blessings and so much love,
Gosh it doesn't get any  better well written right?? In this life we will have struggles, but he has overcome the WORLD...

Love, Whitney
(I hope to blog more so I can remember the days and the years!)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Giveaway #5 - A Christmas to Remember

Now Announcing Giveaway #5 of the Christmas to Remember.  Kandi from Prissy Parlor is giving away a very cute Rhinestone Leopard Hat.

Kandi is one of the very first people that I met when we first started at First Monday Trade Days in Canton.  She is very talented, has a store in Emory, TX where she has very cute kids clothes as well as an awesome selection of tshirts.  Check out her selection at The Prissy Parlor

Enter below to win.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Giveaway #4 - A Christmas to Remember

We are now ready for Giveaway #4 for the Christmas to Remember. This giveaway is a $50 GAP gift card.  The giveaway is provided by Erika at A Little Bit of Everything Blog

Gap Gift Card

Erika is one of my very best friends.  She is extremely stylish and always has her kids dressed extremely cute.  Check out her blog and get great ideas for all kinds of things including fashion, kid's activities, design, etc. 

Enter below for your chance to win and don't forget to check back tomorrow for Giveaway #5.

a Rafflecopter giveaway